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Gamble v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Oregon

September 8, 2014

KATHLEEN S. GAMBLE, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W, COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

RICHARD F. McGINTY, McGinty & Belcher, Attorneys, Salem, OR, Attorney for Plaintiff.

S. AMANDA MARSHALL, United States Attorney, RONALD K. SILVER, Assistant United States Attorney, Portland, OR, DAVID MORADO, Regional Chief Counsel, LISA GOLDOFTAS, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Office of the General Counsel Social Security Administration, Seattle, WA, Attorneys for Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

ANNA J. BROWN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kathleen S. Gamble seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in which she denied Plaintiff's applications for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. This Court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405 (g).

For the reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSES this matter.

ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Plaintiff protectively filed her applications for DIB and SSI on January 8, 2008, and alleged a disability onset date of July 10, 2006. Tr. 196, 200.[1] The applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 84, 89, 94, 98. Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Tr. 101. A hearing was held on April 15, 2011, and a supplemental hearing was held on September 22, 2011. Tr. 34-78, 1105-47. At the hearings the ALJ took testimony from Plaintiff; Kay Craig Ferguson, Plaintiff's mother; two vocational experts (VE); and two medical experts. Tr. 38-78, 1108-37. Plaintiff was represented by an attorney at the hearings. Tr. 1105. In a decision dated October 19, 2011, the ALJ found Plaintiff is not disabled. Tr. 26. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.984(d), that decision became the final decision of the Commissioner on May 15, 2014, when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's subsequent request for review.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was born in 1969 and was insured for DIB through December 31, 2007. Tr. 12, 196, 202. Plaintiff speaks English, completed three years of college, and was a younger individual on the date last insured. Tr. 227. Plaintiff has past relevant work experience as a warranty service clerk, veterinary technician, emergency medical technician, bookkeeper, sales person, general office clerk, and administrative clerk. Tr. 348. She alleges disability due to neuropathy, fibromyalgia, hearing loss, asthma, shingles, back problems, and anxiety. Tr. 222.

STANDARDS

The initial burden of proof rests on the claimant to establish disability. Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir. 2012). To meet this burden a claimant must demonstrate her inability "to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which... has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d) (1) (A). The ALJ must develop the record when there is ambiguous evidence or when the record is inadequate to allow for proper evaluation of the evidence. McLeod v. Astrue, 640 F.3d 881, 885 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Mayes v. Massanari, 276 F.3d 453, 459-60 (9th Cir. 2001)).

The district court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if it is based on proper legal standards and the findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See also Brewes v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., 682 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012). Substantial evidence is "relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Molina, 674 F.3d. at 1110-11 (quoting Valentine v. Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 574 F.3d 685, 690 (9th Cir. 2009)). It is more than a mere scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance. Id. (citing Valentine, 574 F.3d at 690).

The ALJ is responsible for determining credibility, resolving conflicts in the medical evidence, and resolving ambiguities. Vasquez v. Astrue, 572 F.3d 586, 591 (9th Cir. 2009). The court must weigh all of the evidence whether it supports or detracts from the Commissioner's decision. Ryan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 528 F.3d 1194, 1198 (9th Cir. 2008). Even when the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the court must uphold the Commissioner's findings if they are supported by inferences reasonably drawn from the record. Ludwig v. Astrue, 681 F.3d 1047, ...


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